Chairman Yarmuth Joined by Chairwomen Lowey, Maloney & Senate Vice Chairman Leahy in the Fight to Protect Congress’ Power of the Purse
Washington, D.C.— Today, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, announced the introduction of his bill, the Congressional Power of the Purse Act, or H.R. 6628. The bill comes after Chairman Yarmuth led the House Budget Committee in examining the decades-long deterioration of Congress’ constitutional power of the purse and hearing from expert witnesses who testified on the importance of restoring Congress’ spending authority and protecting our democracy and our nation’s separation of powers.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (NY-17) and House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) signed on to the legislation as original co-sponsors, while Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) plans to introduce the companion legislation in the Senate, underscoring the importance of restoring transparency and stability to the federal spending process.
Over the years, the executive branch has encroached on Congress’ central role in federal spending as Presidents sought to expand their budgetary powers. This has led to controversy, abuse of power, violations of budget and appropriations law, and secrecy surrounding federal spending and apportionments. The time has come for Congress, as an institution, to draw the line and stand up to an emboldened executive branch. The Congressional Power of the Purse Act will help Congress reclaim – and safeguard – its constitutional authority.
“Over the past year and a half, the House Budget Committee has worked to hold this Administration accountable for its systemic abuse of budget and appropriations law and degradation of our democratic principles,” said House Budget Chairman Yarmuth. “The Congressional Power of the Purse Act is the first important step in restoring Congress’ constitutional spending authority and reinforcing the foundations of our democracy: a responsibility that should be embraced by both sides of the aisle. This legislation will add teeth to budget law and further empower Congress to take a stand against Administrations that disregard our Constitution.”
“The Trump administration’s lawless behavior shows just how important it is that Congress reclaims the power of the purse,” said House Appropriations Chairwoman Lowey. “I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of Chairman Yarmuth’s Congressional Power of the Purse Act, which will make critical improvements to rein in President Trump’s abuse of power, increase transparency on spending decisions, and add teeth to budget law. This legislation is a common sense step to enforce the Constitution’s checks and balances, and it deserves bipartisan support.”
“For years, the Executive Branch has encroached on Congress' power of the purse,” said House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Maloney. “It is unacceptable for the President to disregard legislation and spend taxpayer dollars according to his whims and for his own benefit, instead of the national interest. The reforms in this bill would help protect against the President abusing his power and reassert Congress' sole constitutional authority in deciding how federal dollars are spent.”
“Congress’ constitutional power of the purse must not be another casualty of this president’s disregard for the rule of law and impulse to raid enacted appropriations for his own political purposes,” said Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Leahy. “His relentless attempts to blur and abuse the separation of powers under our Constitution must be called out and rejected – for this and every future administration. The Congressional Power of the Purse Act will rein in such abuses by the executive branch by providing the accountability and transparency needed to reassert Congress’ exclusive domain over how to spend Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. I look forward to introducing a companion bill in the Senate in the coming weeks.”